Home Page Opinion - Sling the SpAds
April 27, 2021
The term ‘Special Advisor’, or SpAd, is used to describe those individuals employed (and often on handsome salaries) to provide advice and guidance to Members of Parliament and of Government.
Of itself, it makes a degree of sense to have at hand people with expertise – and outside of the Civil Service - in areas that Ministers and MPs probably don’t have. It would be unreasonable to expect any MP, whatever their position, to know everything about everything.
Some MPs (although not enough by some distance) have had previous jobs, unconnected to politics, that do give them some direct experience in one field or another. But these MPs are few and far between. So they need advice.
The problem however, is that some of these advisors have, in recent times, become far more powerful than they should. Far more influential, and MPs who have risen to the ranks of government, have become far too dependent on them.
Rather remarkably, SpAds go back to as long ago as 1964, but it is only in more recent times that SpAds have become so relied upon, so numerous across government and so powerful. Even though, in theory at least, their roles are limited, it has become demonstrably evident that SpAds carry too much weight in how the UK is led.
Government response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been quite revealing in this respect (as it has in so many other areas of life) and unelected, behind-the-scenes advisors should play no role in the day-to-day life of a free and democratic society.
It is time to remove them; it is time to sling the SpAds.
(See also our feature on SpAds in ‘News Commentary’)
© KJM Today, 2021